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Breaking the age old traditions, manual scavenger women, who were once considered as ‘untouchables’ and ostracised from society, will also perform rituals at the holy sangam at the ongoing Mahakumbh.

Around 100 former scavenger women from Rajasthan’s Alwar and Tonk districts will have the rare opportunity of taking holy dip at the sangam and performing puja at the Mahakumbh — something they could not dreamt of for centuries — on Thursday.

Sulabh International, an NGO engaged in the field of sanitation movement, will bring these former scavenger women for this purpose. “It is a kind of effort for social upliftment,” says Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International.

He said these women would join hands with top Hindu priests to perform the rituals. “Not only this, they will dine with some of the top Hindu religious leaders, including followers of various sects like the naga sadhus,” he said.

Pathak added that several senior religious personalities had agreed to take part in the rituals. “The women will also take a round of the Mahakumbh fair and visit the makeshift ashrams and camps of different akharas,” he added.

The women will arrive for the religious congregation on Wednesday. Sulabh has been involved in liberating the untouchable women scavengers from the sub-human occupation of cleaning night soil — a practice nearly 5,000 years old — by providing them alternative employment, Pathak said.

“They are given vocational education in different kinds of work like making noodles, pickles, stitching, tailoring, embroidery, and facial and beauty parlor so that they could earn their livelihood and be self-reliant,” he said.

Earlier also, a group of former women scavengers were taken to Varanasi for a dip in the holy Ganges by the NGO.

 

 

 

 

 

Source : http://www.deccanherald.com/content/309752/once-untouchables-now-take-dip.html